Sunscreen—check. Water—check. But, what about eye care?
Most people remember to put on a bit of sunscreen before they head outdoors, but many people forget to protect their eyes. But our eyes are highly susceptible to sun damage. “Excessive exposure to UV from the sun or tanning machines can literally burn the cornea, the eye’s clear refracting surface that admits light and images to the retina,” warns the Skin Cancer Foundation. It also heightens the risk of cataracts and skin cancers.
“Experts say that 80 to 85 percent of our perception relies on sight, so that is what makes preventative care so important,” said Randy Clark, MD., at Bella Vita Health and Rehabilitation Center. “For people ages 18 to 60, doctors recommend full eye exams every two years. Adults aged 61 and older should get their eyes checked every year.”
From sunlight to screen light, here are four things to remember to keep your eyes protected.
Block out the UV rays
Related link: Proven Tips For Better Eye Care
When you take the time to put on some sunscreen to protect your skin from ultraviolet light, you may be overlooking your eyes. UV rays aren’t any better for your eyes than they are for your skin, so they need to be protected as well. The rays can cause long-term damage to the eyes, including cataracts, cancer, and other conditions. In the short term, your eyes can even get sunburned if they get too much sun exposure. Pick out some sunglasses that block out 99 to 100 percent of UVA and UVB rays, and find a style that gives your eyes maximum protection on all sides.
Keep flying objects out
While you’re protecting your eyes, don’t limit your efforts to sunlight. Flying objects pose a great danger to eyes, whether it is from sports, yard work, or getting handy with some tools. If you or your child is playing a sport with fast-flying balls, pucks, darts or other objects, protect your eyes from injury with specialized eyewear. When you’re working in the shop or trimming your hedges, don’t forget to wear safety glasses. No matter how good you are at blinking, it’s hard to avoid a nail or rock hurtling toward your eye.
Related link: 5 Eye-Catching Facts About Cataracts
Don’t forget the kiddos
If you need to put sunscreen on your kids, you should be protecting their eyes as well. Follow the same guidelines as adult lenses and look for some that block at least 99 percent of UV light. Find some durable sunglasses that take a beating and consider a strap to help keep them on. Start your kids young so they get used to wearing sunglasses, or put a hat on them if they don’t like to wear glasses.
Give your eyes a break
If you use a computer much, or binge on Netflix once in awhile, you’ve probably experienced some eye strain from staring at a screen too long. Looking at a screen for extended periods can cause eye strain, headaches, dry eyes, and other maladies. Experts recommend following the 20/20/20 rule. Every 20 minutes, look 20 feet away for 20 seconds. This can help reduce the strain on your eyes and give them a chance to refresh.
A few seconds of preparation can prevent long-term eye damage, so before you head outside for some sand volleyball or chainsawing, take a moment to find some appropriate eyewear.
This article was originally published by the Daily Herald